Ministry of Justice

B.C.'s Prosecution Service

The Vision - Courageous, Fair and Efficient – a Prosecution Service that has the confidence of the public

As an integral part of the Ministry of Justice, the Criminal Justice Branch will deliver on its core responsibilities in a manner that safeguards prosecutorial independence, and supports an effective justice system through communication, collaborative effort and innovation. The Branch’s core responsibilities include: (1) approving and conducting criminal and regulatory prosecutions; (2) initiating and responding to appeals; (3) providing criminal law advice to government; (4) developing policies and procedures on the administration of criminal justice; (5) liaising with the media and the public on prosecution matters; and (6) any other function or responsibility assigned to the Branch by the Attorney General.

Prosecution files are managed as one part of the overall criminal justice system:

Diagram of the criminal justice process

Independence of Crown Counsel

As mandated under the Crown Counsel Act, Crown counsel make their prosecutorial decisions independent of any outside influence.

Media Statements

June 26, 2015

Crown Files Appeal in Supreme Court of Canada
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice (the "Branch"), announced that it has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Canada, asking that the Court overturn the majority decision of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia in R. v. Newman, 2015 BCCA 237, and restore a conviction for first degree murder.

June 25, 2015

Crown Files Appeal from Constitutional Decision
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice (the "Branch"), announced that it has filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal for British Columbia, asking that the Court set aside a constitutional decision in R. v. Boutilier, 2015 BCSC 901. The appeal has been filed under Court of Appeal number CA42891 (Vancouver).

June 18, 2015

Appointment of Special Prosecutor in Abbotsford Prosecutions
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice ("CJB") announced today that a Special Prosecutor appointed pursuant to s.7 of the Crown Counsel Act has approved charges against Ryan Plecas and Cody Green in connection with an incident that occurred in Abbotsford on December 21, 2014.

June 15, 2015

No Charges Approved in IIO Investigation of Arrest near Chilliwack
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice (CJB) announced that no charges have been approved against two police officers in relation to their use of force in arresting a suspect on February 16, 2014 near Chilliwack.

June 12, 2015

No Crown Appeal from Review Board's Disposition on Schoenborn
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice (the "Branch"), announced that it will not file an appeal from the decision of the British Columbia Review Board to allow Allan Dwayne Schoenborn to have "escorted access to the community".

June 10, 2015

Stanley Cup Riot Charge Update
Victoria - As the four year anniversary of the June 15, 2011 Stanley Cup riot is approaching, the Criminal Justice Branch (the Branch), Ministry of Justice considers it in the public interest to provide an update on the status of the related prosecution files.

May 29, 2015

No Charges Approved in IIO Investigation of Hope RCMP Officers
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch (CJB), Ministry of Justice, announced that no charges have been approved against two members of the Hope Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment in connection with circumstances surrounding an arrest on August 25, 2014.

April 16, 2015

Charge Approved in IIO Investigation of Surrey Shooting
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice (CJB) announced that a charge of Careless Use of a Firearm has been approved against a member of the Delta Police Department in connection with an incident in Surrey on November 7, 2013.

March 25, 2015

No Charge Approved in Collision between Motorcycle and VPD Vehicle
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice (CJB) announced that no charge has been approved against a member of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) involved in an incident on August 8, 2014 in which a male sustained a broken arm when his motorcycle collided with a police car.

March 20, 2015

No Charges Approved in IIO Investigation of Maple Ridge Arrest
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch (CJB), Ministry of Justice, announced that no charges have been approved against members of the Ridge Meadows Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment in connection with an arrest on February 13, 2014. Subsequent to his arrest, an adult male complained of having sustained an injury to his right arm.

March 19, 2015

Crown Proceeds by Direct Indictment in R. v. Handlen
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice (CJB) has filed a Direct Indictment in the prosecution of Garry Taylor Handlen. The Indictment charges Mr. Handlen with two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of Kathryn-Mary Herbert and Monica Ross Jack.

February 24, 2015

Charges Approved in Vancouver Island IIO Investigations
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice, announced that charges have been approved in connection with two separate incidents on Vancouver Island that were investigated by the Independent Investigation Office (IIO).

February 4, 2015

No Charges Approved in IIO Investigations Into Motorcycle Accident
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice (CJB) announced that no charges have been approved against a member of the RCMP involved in an incident on May 31, 2014 in which the operator of a motorcycle suffered leg injuries when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed.

January 14, 2015

No Charges Approved in IIO Investigations Involving Police Service Dogs
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice (CJB) announced that no charges have been approved against police officers involved in incidents that occurred on October 7, 2013 in Vancouver and on January 31, 2014 in Courtenay, both of which involved the use of a police service dog (PSD) in the arrest of suspects.

January 6, 2015

CJB Implements Vulnerable Victim and Witness Policy
Victoria - Effective December 29, 2014, the Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice (CJB), implemented a new policy on best practices for supporting adult vulnerable victims and witnesses in criminal prosecutions.

December 23, 2014

No Charges Approved in Abbotsford IIO Investigation
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice (CJB) announced today that no charge has been approved for the use of force by a member of the Abbotsford Police Department in arresting an adult male on January 28, 2014.